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Carnal Knowledge: A Navel Gazer's Dictionary…

Carnal Knowledge: A Navel Gazer's Dictionary of Anatomy, Etymology, and…

by Charles Hodgson

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I literally just finished this book and I was nicely surprised! It's a great book to pick up at any page and read, or just read from start to finish. I've already started saying to my friends "did you know that...". When I first heard of the book I thought it would be slightly boring because it deals with the history/meaning of words but it's really interesting and sometimes downright funny.

This is a book that features almost every single word you can think of that is part of the human body (ie. ring finger, dimple, widow's peak, etc.) and details what it means and where it originated from. For instance, your Annulary is your ring finger, which was also known as a 'physician finger' because that's where they leeched blood from in the old days. They did this because the ring finger vein was thought to have a direct connection with the heat. "The supposed association between the heart and this finger is the reason that it is the finger we honor with our wedding rings." (p.9).

This is a fun read. I really enjoyed finding out why we call certain parts of our bodies certain things. Like where the word "adam's apple" came from. We take the words we use to describe body parts for granted and never really think of when/where the words originted and their significance or evolution. This is a great book for anyone who is interested in random trivia, the meaning of words, and anatomy. ( )
  Angelic55blonde | Aug 2, 2007 |
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For my parents, who worried I wasn't much of a reader
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We humans had bodies long before we had language. For this reason a disproportionate number of words related to the body are very, very old words.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312371217, Paperback)

From head to toe to breast to behind, Carnal Knowledge is a delightfully intoxicating tour of the words we use to describe our bodies. Did you know:
-eye is one of the oldest written words in the English language?
-callipygian means "having beautiful buttocks"?
-gam, a slang word for "leg," comes from the French word jambe?
A treat for anyone who gets a kick out of words, Carnal Knowledge is also the perfect gift for anyone interested in the human body and the many (many, many) ways it's been described.
"Delight your friends (or lose them rapidly) with this fabulous new knowledge presented with deftness and wit."
---Lynn Truss, author of Eats, Shoots and Leaves and Talk to the Hand

"Master etymologist Charles Hodgson offers a passionate lesson...illuminates how just about every part of the amazing human chassis got its name."
---Richard Lederer, author of Word Wizard
"A near-perfect body of work that will not only entertain your brain but tickle your funny bone, too."
---Erin McKean, editor in chief, The New Oxford American Dictionary (2nd ed.)
"More than a list of anatomical words and their meanings, Hodgson's book fleshes out the meaning behind the words. This is a blood-and-guts encyclopedia, not some bone-dry dictionary…. Even misologists (haters of knowledge) will find pleasure in Carnal Knowledge."
---Robert Hartwell Fiske, author of The Dictionary of Disagreeable English, Deluxe Edition
"And you thought you knew your own body! A captivating trove of facts and history that will amuse and fascinate."
--- Jane Farrow, Wanted Words, CBC Radio
CHARLES HODGSON is an engineer by training and a logophile (word lover) by habit. He produces a daily blog and podcast for word lovers at www.podictionary.com.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:35 -0400)

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